This is where we grow... and where we've come from... no matter what we face, these people have pushed us to greater heights and shown us that we are much smaller than we realize... by teaching us to focus on the roots first.
I took a moment to sit down and draw a map of my life, the people who have impacted me in my career and in building our company. Some people I colored green which meant I felt that it was a healthy relationship, and some I coded yellow in which they were still not ripe. Of those that I colored green, I decided to make a short-list of attributes that described the reasons why I coded them green.
What I also found interesting was where many referrals, and connections were made. Also, some people showed up more than once... and in some environments they were yellow, and in others they were green: proof enough that our environment can make a significant impact on other's perceptions.
1. Personal Achievement Through Education And Good Work
The men and women who have this attribute are multimillionaires, theater directors, and educators. They produce excellent fruit in their life, but it all comes from a desire to learn and grow in their education. The love of insight, new discovery, and the "aha" moment that each person they contact is the driving force of their success.
2. Respect Within Your Neighborhood
Many people, even not on my list, come to mind as I think of this. I feel that I was raised in a particularly amazing neighborhood full of love, creativity, and shared values. This was also where I found that some of the best opportunities come. It's everyones dream to go off and make a name for themselves, but it's not ever suspected that the big break you may hope for comes from the neighbor down the street. The truth is, wherever you are, you are living next to dreams... some that are dying a slow and painful death, and some that are waiting to have an excuse to fly!
Having the respect of your community has more to do with your family, your willingness to contribute your strengths, and a heart for the same environment you all share. This is commonly overlooked in our increasingly connected society, but it's worth noting that there's not true way to litter or cut down a tree online *yet*. Jesus impacted the world in a very small radius, focused primarily on jews... I'm not a jew... but I heard his message... and my life is all the richer for knowing Him.
3. Ministry and Charity Embedded Within Work
Orphans and widows, students and Doctors, homeless and the CEO, I've witnessed an incredibly diverse community of wealthy and poor - both severely underpaid for the work they REALLY do. I've heard countless stories of accountants ministering to executives as they go through a painful divorce, an elite veteran giving an opportunity of a lifetime to a new hire, or a homeless man inadvertently introducing a young man to his destiny. All things considered, they all shared a common interest in ministry within their work.
4. Driven By Excellence In Craft And Expertise
"but then the trade must be worked at, and the calling followed, or neither the estate nor the office will enable us to pay our taxes" The Way To Wealth by Benjamin Franklin
If you, whether at age 6 or age 65, find something in which you can excel. It is your duty and purpose to work at that trade or craft until it is a well oiled machine. Those who are motivated by this will always find some way to be fulfilled. My Dad is much like this. I watched him growing up look to perfect his trade, his craft of leadership, his taste for excellence. This, by and large, has been the fuel for him: The Desire To Be Excellent In His Work.
5. Willingness To Help Others Grow
Similar to education this requires a mentorship approach, although it isn’t quite the same thing. Willingness doesnt require ability, it requires a posture and a desire to facilitate in any capacity the growth of someone else. This could be a pep-talk, a nice meal, or just a smile full of understanding. It’s outward focused, humble, and doesn’t need any praise or return on its investment. In fact, these people sometime go unnoticed. It’s the guy at the bus stop that told you to go down a different street that the one you had planned on. It’s the guest at a dinner party that spurred you to reconnect with a distant friend. These are those of us who cary the light of life with us and are willing to admit that we are not able. These people, I actually marked in blue on my list. They were the peacemakers, the ones who saw the green in me and helped me along to find the others - as they knew that they were not the ones I was looking for.
6. Understand The Universal Need For Life-Purpose
There isn't one person out there (that I know of) who has no need in their life to have purpose. It's possible at times to forget that everyone we meet is looking for this piece of gold, and whether you have found it or are still looking for it... you're in good company.
It's the underperforming employee, or the rising star... that you just have to let them move on to another place. It's also the person who's there by your side waiting for you to give them the permission to take that step into that place of insecurity you are trying to protect so dearly. I know this because I've lived it and experienced it on both sides of the coin. If you think someone is docile or not living up to their potential... NEWSFLASH: This Just In!!! They are waiting for their opportunity to be needed the way they were MEANT to be needed.
I'm not one to hold back on my faith when it comes to purpose. I believe wholeheartedly that if you are breathing, God is not done with you yet. If this is true for both of us, then it's true for everyone. Look to understand this need in the people around you... you may be in for a God-sized surprise.
7. Positive And Creative Spirit
Oh my gosh... I can think of two people in my life currently that I could literally underline and score. It's not everyday that I get to come across people with this attribute. Not only is it refreshing, it's invigorating and time seems to stop. These dear friends have not one bone that isn't vibrating with creativity, new ideas, and belief beyond words. I can't even imagine a single negative thing coming from their minds. People with this ability are rare birds that make you feel like you can do just about anything. I'm not sure if this is something you're born with or develop, but I can ensure you that when you meet this person... you will feel it. If you're not sure... then you just met a snake-oil-salesman... RUN!!!
8. Abundance Mindset
No. No. No. No. No. No. Yes. No No No...Okay!!! The abundance mindset will only see a yes for each of these no's, yes', and okay's. They are solely focused on the big, broad picture of life. Each no is a dark pixel of a rendering of a nighttime sky and each yes is merely a representation of the tiny lights that illuminates that darkness with absolute splendor. Even a reluctant, "sure" is enough to be a distant supernova or a far off galaxy. The abundant mindset is someone who sees everything as infinitely small and large all at once. In the fine art world, this is the feeling of sublime. Tap into this mindset, and sit back and watch your life paint itself in the most beautiful spectacle imaginable.
9. Joy In The Success Of Others
"My cousin just got engaged"
"I just won an Oscar!"
What do you say to this? If you possess this ability, you would likely feel the excitement and joy of the cousin and their new fiancee. The people in this green bubble are the ones who live vicariously through the successes of others.
Not to be confused with riding coat-tails, these are the folks that call you to wish you congratulations even though you only met them once or twice before. They are constantly on the lookout to find what is good in the world and whether they share in the success or not, it doesn't matter... only that there was something praiseworthy and worth being excited about!
I actually dare you to try this one out. It's amazing how many people feel this but don't actually share in the excitement with other people. I can't imagine how many oscar winners or nobel peace prize recipients sit alone the week after wondering if anyone even heard the good news.
No one goes off to do something great without any desire to be praised or celebrated. Make a decision to be the person to find that joy! It's free, requires zero skills, will assuredly make someone's day. For bonus points, the same goes for failures and disasters. I was always taught to go to as many weddings as you do funerals... gives you perspective.
10. A Family Atmosphere
My favorite business meetings are the ones when the CEO gets interrupted by their wife because she's bringing in some desserts for the office or when the kids are at work helping shred papers. It kinda brings me back to the reason I go to work in the first-place and gives me a feeling of unconditional love. So much of life can become very transactional... sometimes it's nice to feel a part of the family... even if the deal doesn't work - it's nice to get invited to the barbecue.
11. Speed and Efficiency Of Execution
Just keep it simple. Often times we try to puff ourselves up to be more than we are. I'm always so impressed when I see agencies, corporations, and individuals look to just make it fast and easy for everyone involved. Time is our most precious resource, so it's just nice when people make an effort to maximize this time. Having this kind of attitude makes life more fun and rewarding. You get more done in less time not only because you're working hard but because you're working smart as well. Those of us who have this gift make the moments of rest all the more satisfying!
12. Desire To Be All You Can Be
Sometimes we get dealt with cards that don't seem to suit us well. In these cases, it's important to have a deep look at who we are and what we can become given our circumstances. Whether you are a victim of abuse, born without arms or legs, an olympic athlete, or nursing your newborn, there is a call on our lives to live up to our full potential.
We are made in the image of God... there's bound to be some light in you somewhere. I've seen bright people fade and bright people shine. I've seen darkness in the eyes of the oppressed and fog in the eyes of the free. Either way, we are called to become the best versions of ourselves. We must pursue this at all cost: some at the expense of our comfort, others at the expense of our lives.
No matter where you may be in life... let this desire be something to strive for and live by. We are all destined for something, and that something is you. Don't settle. Become your best.
13. Obsessed With Self-Actualization
There's a world where I can go and tell my secrets to
In my room, in my room
In this world I lock out all my worries and my fears
In my room, in my room
The Beach Boys had it right. This room is where we find ourselves... our authentic selves. It's the one that isn't on facebook, instagram, snapchat, or twitter. No one in your family can go here, none of your friends can follow you there. It's yours to find, and yours to keep. I wrote obsessed because I feel like this is where we meet with our creator. In my mind, this is where I meet with God. It's a place of complete vulnerability and willingness to explore my heart, ask myself tough questions; a place to forgive and to ask for forgiveness. It's where dreams are born, where pain is released, and where inward transformation happens.
I had the pleasure of sitting in a room with Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top during an interview. In his interview he referenced the concept of "cracking the code" in relation to Stevie Ray Vaughan's contribution to the blues - implying that he in fact had cracked it.
This "struck a chord" with me... this is what life is... cracking codes. There is a DNA for everything, and it's important that each person crack their own code in life. This is my understanding of actualization. If I brought out a Bible I'm sure I could give a more "Christian" perspective of this, but in my efforts to remain truth-seeking, I will leave this to you, dear reader... to find this place for yourself. If you do find it, and if you're willing, I pray that you encounter your Creator, full of grace and forgiveness, to give you peace, love, and joy in a risen Lord.
Listen: Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow
14. Love to Connect People To Their Purpose
Have you ever had someone enter your life for no apparent reason but for some reason it seems significant? Then you host a gathering and all of a sudden they're just hitting it off with one of your coworkers or your wife's best friends. Yes... this happens, and what a sight it is! It's amazing to me how these connections can happen, and it's no secret!
In fact, this is why reality TV does so well... we love watching random people connect who otherwise would never know each other. While I'm not advocating all the reality TV out there, I'm not ashamed to admit that when these connections happen... I feel pretty good.
Finding my own way is hard enough, and if it weren't for some generous networkers out there, I for sure wouldn't be sitting here writing this blog post. To take it a step further, I'd argue that 99% of my life has been made up of random connections either at an event, at the grocery store, or on the job. The more we get proactive in this, the better it is for everyone.
So what are you waiting for... connect connect connect! There are people in your life right now that are dying to find their purpose!
15. Willing To Stand Up For What They Believe In
I really love it when people stand up for what they ACTUALLY believe. Even if it isn't what I believe. There's something really authentic, humbling, and real about the conversations that follow this bold stance. In fact, I have far more respect for someone who is willing to stand up for something that for someone who will fall for anything.
While I like to think that my beliefs have been formulated well - there are areas in which I find myself asking questions. The people who help me in these questions are the ones who take a hard stance. I know that people may shift in their perspectives over time, but what a sight!!!
One of the main areas I like to emphasize with TAG is a commitment to "search for truth". This is a non-negotiable for me. I don't care what you believe, but if you have no desire to seek the truth, I have no desire to work with you.
Belief is an uncomfortable subject; because it can create divisions. Divisions are NOT A BAD THING. In fact, I argue that by NOT being bold in what you believe, you are actually causing harm to yourself but to others. Division is a great thing, divisiveness not so much, but division is great.
Without division or segmentation, it would be quite impossible for anyone to create a life for themselves. When I decided to be an artist, I created a division in my life. When I decided to start a business, I created division in my life. When I chose to create authentic and God-honoring content, I created division in my life. When I got married, I created a huge amount of division in my life by choosing my lovely wife for the rest of my life. There is nothing wrong with taking a stance and owning who you are.
Out of the 7B+ people in the world, there's absolutely nothing wrong with being true to what you believe. So be bold in your belief! You don't have to have a stance on everything, but when you do, STAND. And stand true to it! And if for any reason it fails you... remember... you can always change it. I won't judge you!!!
16. Ability To See Potential In Others
Potential energy is very powerful. Go back to 6th grade science class, but to convert potential energy into kinetic energy is as simple (quite often) as just a tap, nudge, or an "attaboy!". The only problem is that sometimes we don't see it in others, let alone ourselves.
The ability to see potential in others requires an taste for success and likely a history of seeing this success working around us. When we see someone with potential to get to the place we've already been or to a place that we've seen in our heads... it's time to give that little push to turn that potential into progress. Just wait... you'll be in for a treat!
17. A Gentle, Quiet Spirit
Imagine a tamed lion sitting in front of you. Notice the piercing eyes, the grand stance, and the powerful presence. Now imagine that the Lion comes and sits next to you and puts his head on your lap and starts to lick your hands as you pet him.
This is the feeling you get with a gentle, quiet spirit. You know that they have power, but they are restrained, trained, and on your side. There is no truer form of discipline than being a tamed lion, and when the lion finally chooses to speak... he will certainly be heard.
18. A No BS Approach To Business
"How do you make money?!!!"
You provide a solution, I have a problem, I pay you to solve it. That's about as simple as it gets. So much wasted time goes into trying to convince people that they have a problem that needs solving... when in reality THEY DON'T WANT YOUR STINKING HELP!!! And what's worse is that there are people out there who are pulling their hair out with pockets full of cash looking for someone who can solve their problems.
This is the No BS zone and it's key to success of really any business. I got turned on to Dan Kennedy's techniques in this area a few years back and all I can say is, "THANK GOD!!!". I'm so happy to hear from people who have a No BS perspective. Sometimes people can get their game so up that they can fool us, but in reality... the No BS person is always gonna end up on top.
Does this mean you play by the rules? Heck no!!! This means that you create rules that work, win, and get results... DUH!!! I mean, really... take your ideas and your business plans to an 12 year old and explain it to them and see what they say about it. Likely, they will give you a No BS answer. Take it to a guy on wall street and... yeah... you get the picture.
Keep it simple, call BS on things that are just BS... and move on. There's real people who have real problems that need real solutions. Leave the BS at the door.
19. Make Money From Intuition And Peaceful Win-Wins
Walk away from a deal thinking you got it good? What about the other guy? People who make money solely on the expense of others are doing themselves and everyone around them a disservice. Finding a middle ground and a win-win on all fronts is what builds reputation, integrity, and a business.
Our services are priced for people who are looking for fast, high quality service. While we've accommodated various people in their endeavors, it's always turned to charity when we decide to take on work outside our zone of genius. It took me a long time to come to this understanding of a win-win scenario, but thankfully we've had the privilege of working with people who need the quality we offer and it's a win-win for all of us.
When we make the decision to go with win-win accounts, partnerships, and deals... we actually set ourselves up for more success. As much as it has pained me to turn down paying clients at times, there's no greater feeling of feeling the joy of serving those who genuinely need what we can offer and are happy to pay for the work.
20. Create Ways To Connect Others (Without Asking For A Penny)
This is the ultimate form of generosity in my opinion. Sometimes, it's just a good idea to bring everyone together... for pizza, games, a party, or a charity. When we take time to plan for the unknown connections, we are able to share in the joy and success of others all the more and continue to build a legacy, a family, and friends enough to last a lifetime.
21. Love For The Weirdos, The Strange Quirks, And Hugging The Cactus
People are weird. There... I said it. I'm weird, you're weird, your neighbor's weird... we're just a bunch of weirdos in a world trying to convince us that we're not weird. (which is weird)
I recently heard "hugging the cactus" from a speech given by Robert Downey Jr. in regards to something Mel Gibson told him to get over his addiction to drugs and alcohol. The concept is that we need to embrace the worst parts of ourselves: i.e. hugging the cactus. When we do this, we find ourselves humbled.
This stuck with me (pun intended). For all the weirdness in me that I suppress, it's a comforting notion that I can actually embrace a side of myself that just isn't. Strange Quirks are weirder when we don't embrace them, but when we embrace them... amazing things happen.
22. A Constant Eye For The Future
An eye... just one! We don't need to focus ALL our attention on the future. The future is quite unpredictable and sometimes can be frightening. What we do need is a healthy view into what's on the horizon, an ability to navigate the storms, find new ground, discover talent, and equip our teams. Vision is the ability to seek the problems that we aren't currently experiencing so as to make sure that they don't sink the ship. People who have an eye to the future are the ones we trust to keep us moving, informed, and protected.
23. Talent, Skill, and Willingness To Give It Up
Some people are just born insanely good at something. The world really isn't set up for these rare people, but when they come on the scene... a lot is expected of them. Usually this pressure is more experienced by them than it is by their counterparts, but it's there... and it's asking questions.
If you are naturally good at something and are not given an opportunity, it's up to you to give it up!!! You need to carve your own path. I hate to burst your bubble, but you've been designated to be a leader. Leadership, you are not born with... leaders are made - they are tested and tried.
But if you are of the select few of those with a particular talent or skill... you need to own it, run with it, and give it up. It's what you're made to do!!!